William Hammett, Independent Ghostwriter

Writing Sample ~ Nonfiction ~ Curriculum Reform

Note: The following excerpt has been used with the permission of a former client and/or the publisher. Please note that I can adjust my prose style for a particular genre, and the following is not intended to represent my full range of styles or the number of genres I consider. For nonfiction, the level of complexity can be adjusted depending on client preference. .

The current high school curriculum has been practiced for almost eighty years, its content based on the classical belief that a student can learn everything that is knowable. If a student studied a few simple disciplines—math, English, a foreign language, geography, and history—he or she was considered prepared for life. This notion, of course, has been rendered obsolete and simplistic in an age of technological advancement that has produced a veritable explosion of information. Discoveries in psychology, geology, astronomy, physics, and biology, to name just a few disciplines, are reshaping our understanding of existence on a daily basis.

Nevertheless, schools across the United States have not adapted their curricula to meet the demands of the twenty-first century. School boards retain what is tantamount to a grocery store mentality when it comes to learning, with students walking up and down aisles, grabbing a little math here and a bit of history there. To make matters worse, the content of traditional subjects has changed little, nor has information on the way the human brain assimilates knowledge resulted in different modes of teaching. Ironically, critical thinking skills are almost always sacrificed in order to prepare students for competency tests mandated by state legislatures as a result of political pressure to increase literacy. "Teaching for the test" has replaced a teacher's obligation to challenge students to think and analyze.

Post-modern curriculum designers advocate limiting the number of high school subjects to no more than four in one semester. A restructuring of the school day also ranks high among demands for curriculum reform. Many educators recommend that high schools adopt a schedule not unlike universities, allowing students the opportunity to pursue topics more deeply, with time allocated for research, reading, and independent study.

The likelihood that such recommendations will ever be implemented is, at present, remote. Political pressure to overcome social promotion is intense in any election cycle. The most realistic hope for curriculum reform is that public school systems across the country will follow the lead of charter and magnate schools, which have the freedom to explore new options in content and the way it is presented.


 William Hammett

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